By Amy Samin
Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv advanced to the Israeli Cup semi-finals after defeating Hapoel Holon 94-77 in the quarterfinal game, which took place at Nokia Arena. On Tuesday Maccabi will face Maccabi Ashdod at 17:50 in the semifinals. Landesberg led Maccabi's scorers with 22 points Hickman added 19 (4 of 6 from downtown). Shawn James contributed 11 points, 8 rebounds and 7 blocks. Maccabi's forward and team captain Lior Eliyahu injured his knee in the second quarter. A preliminary exam suggests that it is a strained ligament (MCL) rather than a tear. He will undergo an MRI this evening.
Starters for Maccabi were team captain Lior Eliyahu, Shawn James, Devin Smith, Yogev Ohayon and Ricky Hickman. Maccabi opened strong and jumped to an 11-1lead off points by Ohayon, Eliyahu, and Smith along with a catch and shoot triple from Hickman in the first two and a half minutes. Maccabi continued to cruise and kept their lead comfortable, reaching 19-9 with just under four minutes left in the period. Holon didn't give up, though, and managed to close the gap to 21-17 before a buzzer beater from downtown by Nik Caner-Medley ended the quarter with Maccabi leading 24-17.
Sylven Landesberg got things started for Maccabi early in the second quarter, and was soon joined by Darko Planinic and Moran Roth, who came off the bench to put Maccabi up 30-19 in the first two minutes. Landesberg added two more buckets and James served up more of his trademark blocks on the other end. With three and a half minutes left in the half James slammed down a dunk that made it 40-29. Eliyahu went down hard, clutching his left knee, and had to be helped off the court. Landesberg drained a three from the left corner and Hickman added a deuce. Two more dunks by James and a layup by Ohayon ended the half with Maccabi leading 49-35.
A bucket and one by James opened the third quarter for Maccabi. Smith and James continued to excel on defense, while Hickman scored three treys from the top of the arc to make it 63-46 with four minutes gone. Landesberg added more points, while Caner-Medley battled on the defensive boards. David Logan drained a long stop and pop and points by Landesberg and Guy Pnini ended the period with Maccabi leading 77-54.
There was a drop in intensity at the start of the fourth quarter, and Maccabi's first points didn't come until Pnini drove in the lane after nearly two minutes had elapsed, the followed that with two from the charity stripe. Another bucket from downtown by Landesberg made it 84-63 just past the halfway mark. Holon continued to battle, but a layup off the glass by Landesberg and a putback slam by Smith made it 88-69 with two and a half remaining. Landesberg had time to add one more trey and Hickman dropped in a layup to end the game. Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv defeated Hapoel Holon 93-77 and advances to the Israeli Cup semi-final.
Maccabi: Landesberg 22 points; Hickman 19 points; James 11 points, 8 rebounds, 7 blocks; Ohayon 10 points, 5 assists; Smith 7 points; Eliyahu and Pnini 6 points each; Caner-Medley 5 points; Logan 3 points; Roth and Planinic 2 points each.